TURKEY WARNS U.S. AGAINST "GENOCIDE" BILL IN CONGRESS
March 1 2010
Fri, Feb 5 2010 ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey warned on Monday relations
with its ally the United States would be damaged if a U.S.
congressional panel votes this week to label a World War One-era
massacre of Armenians by Turkish forces as "genocide."
The Armenian issue has poisoned ties between NATO member Turkey
and the United States in the past. In 2007, Ankara recalled its
ambassador to Washington for consultations after a U.S. panel voted
on a similar bill.
Muslim Turkey accepts that many Christian Armenians were killed by
Ottoman Turks but denies that up to 1.5 million died and that it
amounted to genocide — a term employed by many Western historians
and some foreign parliaments.
Ankara has said such a resolution would also hurt efforts by Turkey
and Armenia to normalize ties.
"We want to believe that the Committee members will act responsibly
and that they are aware that the acceptance of the bill could damage
Turkey-U.S. ties as well as the efforts of peace and stability in the
South Caucasus," Turkey’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Burak Ozugergin
The non-binding resolution, to be voted on March 4, would call on U.S.
President Barack Obama to ensure that U.S. policy formally refers
to the massacre as "genocide" and to use that term when he delivers
his annual message on the issue in April — something Obama avoided
doing last year.
The Obama administration sees Turkey as a key ally whose help it
needs in solving confrontations from Iran to Afghanistan.
Turkey and Armenia signed accords last year to normalize ties after
a century of hostility that traces its roots to the 1915 mass killing
and deportation of Armenians.
Since then, the process has been thrown into question by the weight
of still-unresolved disputes.
Ankara and Yerevan have accused each other of trying to re-write the
texts, which are the closest the sides have come to overcoming the
mass killings legacy.
The accords require approval by parliaments both in Yerevan and
Ankara. Both sides accuse each other of dragging their feet.
(Writing by Ibon Villelabeitia; Editing by Ralph Boulton)
From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress